Met is still corrupt' insists Lawrence pal
PUBLISHED: 16:02 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 16 August 2010
THE best friend of Stephen Lawrence who is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in a by-election has said that corruption still exists in the Metropolitan Police. Duwayne Brooks, 33, from Lewisham, has been selected by the Liberal Democrats to stand
THE best friend of Stephen Lawrence who is standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate in a by-election has said that corruption still exists in the Metropolitan Police.
Duwayne Brooks, 33, from Lewisham, has been selected by the Liberal Democrats to stand in the Downham by-election next month.
Brooks, who was with Mr Lawrence when he was stabbed to death in Eltham in a racist attack in April 1993, said that he wishes to help fight against knife crime in the capital. But he claimed that problems in the Met remain nearly 10 years after Lawrence's death sparked an inquiry by Sir William MacPherson that concluded that the police were 'institutionally racist'.
He said: "I don't think there have been any major positive changes.
"In my experience, we still have corrupt police officers, still have canteen culture and we still have the so called 'Independent' Police Complaints Commission that protects them. And it still comes down to street level and local borough commanders still don't tackle them."
But it was the former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick, that sparked his interest in politics.
Mr Brooks first met Mr Paddick when he was Commander of Brixton Police and he approached him for advice following the police shooting of Derek Bennett in 2001 who was believed to be armed but was later found to have a gun-shaped cigarette lighter.
Publicly backing him as London Mayoral candidate for the Lib Dems last year, Mr Brooks said he showed a "level of trust in me no other police officer had shown me."
However, he added that his issues with the police are "done and dusted" and today he has a "different level of respect from them".
Pledging to work as a team with other councillors in the constituency, Mr Brooks said top of his agenda was housing and anti-social behaviour.
He said: "I always wanted to make a change and I can improve things by using my experience.
"When something happens, I get a phone call for advice. Being a councillor would give me more room to help other people because I would have a powerful voice."
He added: "Incidents are not reported to the police because people are intimidated, police have to tackle these issues more with stop and search and, most of all, make people frightened of carrying a knife.
"We don't want them to think they must carry a knife because they might be stabbed, but that they may be going to prison if they carry a knife. It is not much of a deterrent if you think you won't go to prison."
On the growing knife culture in the capital, he said: "Some people are just bullies. They like the fact they are going to intimidate people."
Claiming he only thinks of the death of his friend "when reporters talk about it", he said that the experience will not stop him from working in the public domain.
He added: "Anything could happen to you at any time, I don't have any fear of anybody.
"It would be extremely bad luck if it happened twice. If you think about what might happen to you, you would end up not going out.
"If I thought about it every day, it would drive me crazy.
"I always try to have a positive outlook and if you have a smile on your face, you should hopefully get a smile back."
l Mr Brooks and fellow LibDem Jenni Clutten are standing in the by-election after Mark Morris and Simon Carter were forced to stand down after accepting job offers that prevented them continuing as councillors.
Also standing in the February 19 election are Damien Egan and Pauline Morrison for Labour, Christine Allison and Andrew Lee for Conservative, Lee Roach and Cath Miller for the Green Party and Tess Culnane for the BNP.
For more information, go tohttp://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/DemocracyAndElections/DownhamWardByelection19February2009.htm.